The Heritage High boys basketball team trailed host Deer Valley 19-0 on Tuesday night, and Wolverines' 6-foot-10 star Marcus Lee hadn't gotten revved up yet.
Not good news for the Patriots, who fought back gamely in a 82-74 loss in an early Bay Valley Athletic League showdown.
The Patriots (13-4, 1-1 BVAL) outscored the Wolverines 20-16 in the second quarter and trailed by just 11 at halftime. Then the touted Wolverines (13-3, 2-0) got a lecture from coach LeChet Phillips.
"Our coach was like, 'What are we doing? We're supposed to be blowing them out,' " Lee said. "And we were like, 'Yeah, you're right.' We started messing around, so we got back into our groove and remembered what we came here to do."
The Kentucky-bound Lee was spectacular in the third quarter with 11 of his 20 points, including five dunks.
Heritage big man Shon Briggs, a 6-6 junior, worked hard inside against the ball-swatting Lee for 21 points, and teammates Pierre Carter and Ryan Smith combined for 39 points.
Deer Valley's versatile Kendall Smith had 13 of his game-high 25 points in the first quarter.
During a jarring 2-minute sequence in the third quarter, Lee had an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Smith, blocked a shot by Briggs and sandwiched putback dunks around a tip-in by Heritage's Pierre Carter.
Then, after Briggs scored to cut the deficit to 57-46, Lee's jam off another Smith assist kept the heat on. He concluded an 11-point quarter with another putback, and early in the fourth quarter Lee took a pass from Smith near the top of the key, raced through a hole in the defense and slammed another one down.
"It seemed like every time we'd get a run, there'd be a dunk and an open three or something for them," Heritage coach Pat Cruickshank said. "When you've got a kid who's 6-10 that can play, it's tough."
De La Salle 2, California 0: The Spartans have historically started to hit their stride by mid-January. This season is no exception.
After a five-game winless streak that was capped by a 1-0 East Bay Athletic League loss to San Ramon Valley on Jan. 3, the Spartans have won four games in a row, including their league victory at California on Tuesday.
"I think our defensive pressure that we've lived on and has been a tradition of our program was lacking," De La Salle coach Derricke Brown said. "But the pressure has picked up, which has given us more confidence to push up the field and given us more dangerous chances."
De La Salle (8-3-3, 5-1-1 EBAL) got a goal from Nic Bob in the 69th minute off an assist from Franco Felix to take a 2-0 lead. That was insurance after an own goal by California (13-2-2, 4-2-1 EBAL).
The win gives De La Salle 16 points in the EBAL, one fewer than first place Monte Vista.
-- Matt Smith, correspondent